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RAF’s new fleet of aircraft running two years late in £2billion blow for Britain’s defence

THE RAF’s new fleet of “eyes in the sky” aircraft is running two years late in a £2billion blow for Britain’s defence.

Three Boeing E7 Wedgetail planes were due last year but will not now enter service until autumn 2025, Defence minister James Cartlidge admitted.

AlamyThe RAF’s new fleet of ‘eyes in the sky’ aircraft is running two years late in a £2bn blow for Britain’s defence[/caption]

The airborne early warning and control systems (Awacs) jets provide air surveillance, command and control and battle space management.

The delay to the £2billion deal means the MoD must continue to rely on Nato help — such as from the Rivet Joint spy plane.

Awacs’ crucial role was laid bare when Ukraine shot down two of Russia’s versions this year.

Almost a dozen of Putin’s warplanes were blasted out of the sky within days.

The MoD said it is working with Boeing to minimise the impact of global shortages of “materials, parts and skills”.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “The Conservatives are leaving our armed forces without the kit they need to defend Britain.

“Delays undermine our ability to fulfil our Nato obligations.”

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